TAFE Queensland: Helping students pursue excellence in healing
Promoted by TAFE Queensland

TAFE Queensland: Helping students pursue excellence in healing

Born and raised in Japan, Mana Ito always toyed with the idea of studying abroad to strengthen her English skills. But she chose to play it safe and established herself as a medical sales representative and a community pharmacist first. Although she achieved financial success, it didn’t stop her from deciding to leave the life she knew behind for something new. When it was finally time for her Australian partner to return to his country, Ito was confident this was an adventure with her name on it.

Determined to upskill herself, she began looking at the best academic experiences Australia had to offer — TAFE Queensland stood out for its reputation as a “trustworthy government-run organisation.” Beyond that, it is the latest, most experienced training and education provider in the state. It’s come a long way since its inception in 1882, currently offering approximately 500 industry-relevant qualifications across 60 campus locations — all of which were established to help ambitious learners define their greatness.

Ito chose the Diploma of Remedial Massage. “It was attractive for me because Australia is more known for holistic healthcare than Japan,” she says. “Remedial massage seemed more therapy-based … and I wanted to learn about hands-on treatment that didn’t require too much medicine.”

True enough, this course provides advanced skills that empower students to tailor remedial massage treatments according to the unique needs of their clients. By exploring injury prevention strategies and injury-specific home care, they develop the expertise needed to provide comprehensive care and support. At the same time, they expand their repertoire of modalities with specialised training in pregnancy massage, lymphatic drainage, joint mobilisation, trigger point therapies, and deep tissue massage. This breadth of knowledge ensures graduates do not just leave TAFE certified to practise but are versatile enough to heal anyone in need of their services.

The collective experience is just as enriching as it is rigorous, hence why Ito’s first week at the Toowoomba campus was an exhilarating blend of challenge and excitement. There was a lot she needed to get used to, but thankfully plenty of senior students were ready and waiting to help her adjust. She significantly benefited from their support on Tuesdays, which entailed sitting in on more advanced lessons.

Mana (far left) surrounded with senior students after a class. Source: TAFE Queensland, Mana Ito

While initially daunting, the lectures on this day gave her a glimpse into the future materials she would encounter in her studies, enabling her to envision the path ahead. Wednesdays were devoted to theory-based classes. Meanwhile, Thursdays were student clinic days, which revolves around putting knowledge into practice. Under the watchful guidance of three dedicated teachers, each day provided a unique perspective on the industry and its diverse massage styles.

“Ben Hart was in charge of the Tuesday class, and I liked how he delivered the class in a fun and very structured way. He made it incredibly easy to follow,” Ito shares. “Ashleigh Crighton was in charge in the second half of the year’s Thursday student clinic. She organised it very well to ensure everyone was comfortable and ready to enter the massage industry. She even supported my assignments when I was struggling.”

Crighton’s clinics played a crucial role in helping Ito get a better feel of the field she was about to enter. They also prepared her for the experiential learning opportunities she was expected to take on as a student. For example, her class was once tasked with providing massages at a Rugby 7s game. “Athletes had different issues compared to the people we would usually treat in the student clinic, which was very interesting and beneficial for me to learn,” she recalls.

TAFE Queensland

Mana (third from left) on graduation day. Source: TAFE Queensland, Mana Ito

Today, the athletes Ito tends to as a professional love her methods — as do the rest of her clients. Her unwavering commitment to excellence and the invaluable network she cultivated at TAFE Queensland has paved the way for a seamless transition into the Australian workforce once she graduated. She is currently working at a remedial clinic in Toowoomba City. Here, Ito expands her roster of satisfied, regular patrons with each passing day.

It’s clear her TAFE Queensland journey shaped her professional trajectory — and sown her deep love for Australia. “I plan to stay here for the foreseeable future, where I will continue to improve my skills as a therapist,” she confirms.

Now instilled with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, Ito plans to learn more about the realms of exercise science. She’s considering a personal training course — anything that will help her evolve as a therapist and contribute to the well-being of others in ever more profound ways.

To find out what a TAFE Queensland education can do for your passion, click here.

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